The Real Olympic Legacy

In the first of a two part blog, Abbey Petkar, managing director of Magenta Security looks at the legacy of the Olympic Games.

This year, the world’s eyes were on London for the 2012 London Olympic and Paralympic Games. The event represented an unprecedented challenge for the UK’s resilience and security management capabilities. It was the country’s largest ever peacetime security programme with a total cost in the region of £550 million.

The Games were a spectacular success by any measure. They were delivered on time and within budget and predictions of security problems turned out to be groundless. As the country celebrates the success, on and off the field of play, much has been said about the legacy of the Olympics in terms of British sporting talent. But much less has been said about the implications of the Olympic legacy for other sectors which supported the event, such as the security industry.

One of the biggest successes of the Olympic and Paralympic Games was the Games Makers – an army of 70,000 people who gave up their time and demonstrated a never before seen level of enthusiasm. As Lord Sebastian Coe said in his address at the Olympic closing ceremony, this group of people were perhaps more responsible for the success of the games than any other.

Everyone is in agreement that the Games Makers did an excellent job. They were a fantastic tribute to themselves, to the spirit of volunteering and to the Olympics itself. Their dedication and support was instrumental in making the Games a success, whether it has been at the events themselves, or at railway stations, car parks and bus stations. As a visitor, you couldn’t have been more impressed and heartened by their friendly yet efficient style of how they carried out their duties.

London and the rest of the UK regularly hosts and polices major events. But the Olympics were one event everybody in the security industry can learn from. Using it as a starting block and building on the security experience, London 2012 can leave a positive legacy. And hopefully we can include many of the Games Makers in this legacy.

In my next blog I’ll explore how the security industry can take advantage of the skills they gained.

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